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Analytical Laboratory Results

2021 Analytical Laboratory Results

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who voted in our annual poll on the previous year’s issues. Your votes help your favorite writers and artists by rewarding them directly and concretely for outstanding work. They help you by giving us a better feel for what you like and don’t like—which helps us know what to give you in the future.

We have six categories: novellas, novelettes, short stories, fact articles, poems, and covers. In each category, we asked you to list your three favorite items, in descending order of preference. Each first place vote counts as three points, second place two, and third place one. The total number of points for each item is divided by the maximum it could have received (if everyone had ranked it 1) and multiplied by 10. The result is the score listed below, on a scale of 0 (nobody voted for it) to 10 (everybody ranked it first). In practice, scores run lower in categories with many entries than in those with only a few. For comparison, the number in parentheses at the head of each category is the average for that category.


1. “Invasive Species,” Catherine Wells (4.36)

2. “The Unlikely Heroines of Callisto Station,” Marie Vibbert (4.26)

3. “The Silence Before I Sleep,” Adam-Troy Castro (4.10)

4. “Uploading Angela,” Lettie Prell (3.08)


1. “A Shot in the Dark,” Deborah L. Davitt (1.44)

2. “Sample Return,” C. Stuart Hardwick (1.33)

3. “No Stranger to Native Shores,” Matt McHugh (1.28)

4 (tie). “The Hunger,” Marco Frassetto (1.13)

4 (tie). “The Next Frontier,” Rosemary Claire Smith (1.13)


1. “Heart of Stone,” Tom Jolly (0.92)

2. “The Trashpusher of Planet 4,” Brenda Kalt (0.82)

3. “The Last Science Fiction Story,” Adam-Troy Castro (0.77)

4. “My Hypothetical Friend,” Harry Turtledove (0.72)

5. “Room to Live,” Marie Vibbert (0.67)


1. “Constructing a Habitable Planet,” Julie Novakova (4.21)

2. “Possible Signs of Life on Venus,” David L. Clements (2.97)

3. “Return to the Golden Age,” Richard A. Lovett (2.87)

POETRY (1.02)

1. “If,” Bruce McAllister (1.49)

2. “A Daguerreotype of the Moon,” Jennifer Crow (1.38)

3 (tie). “Quantum Entanglement,” Ken Poyner (1.23)

3 (tie). “Hidden Things,” Jennifer Crow (1.23)

4 (tie). “What We Forget,” Bruce McAllister (1.18)

 4 (tie). “When I Think of My Father,” Bruce McAllister (1.18)

COVER (2.29)

1. July/August, by Tomislav Tikulin for “The Unlikely Heroines of Callisto Station” (3.59)

2. March/April, by Maurizio Manzieri for “Flashmob” (3.33)

3. September/October, by Kurt Huggins for Kepler’s Laws (2.67)

The Novella category this year stands out for the tight race for first place. We’ve had ties before, and this isn’t quite that, but it’s close! It’s also an interesting tidbit to note that Marie Vibbert’s “The Heroines of Callisto Station” was apparently popular both as a story and for its cover.

Novelettes had a notably strong showing from newer-to-Analog authors. I expected the C. Stuart Hardwick and Rosemany Claire Smith stories to be well-liked, but to see stories from fresh voices like Deboarah L. Davitt, Matt McHugh, and Marco Frassetto place highly as well is always gratifying.

Short Stories, as I comment every year, are a highly competetive category, and the results this year show strong material from many dependable Analog voices, with at least four out of five stories blending hard SF and at least a little humor.

The finalists in the Fact Article category each had a unique appeal, be it the accessible voice and clear explanations of Richard A. Lovett’s article, or the “tip of the spear” first-hand description of making an exciting discovery in David L. Clements’ piece, but in the end, readers especially responded to Julie Novakova’s look at one of SF’s biggest (and least often explained) ideas.

This year’s Poetry results stand out, since there are six finalists, but only three names! It looks like readers were split on which of Bruce McAllister and Jennifer Crow’s poems to select. And Ken Poyner joins the fray with his lovely and existential piece “Quantum Entanglement.” As ever, our poetry ran the gamut of science and human experience.

And last but not least, the Cover results show that depictions of “space stuff” on the covers will always have a special place in readers’ (and our) hearts.

Since AnLab votes are so important in encouraging authors and artists to do their best work and to giving you the kind of magazine you most like to read, we hope to see even more next year. Use our online ballot, email, or “snail mail”! (Remember to be careful to vote in the right category, as listed in the annual index. Sometimes a few votes are wasted by being cast in the wrong category, and those simply can’t be counted. Using our online ballot makes this much less likely.)

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